Lighting Matters: Why is lighting design practice in SA behind the times?

May 7th, 2019, Published in Articles: Vector

In the last few months, I have been asked frequently for the reason why new technologies and lighting design practices are either not being adopted or, at best, are only being adopted at a snail’s pace.

I am grateful to those who have asked me because it prompted me to spring into action and analyse the reasons.

The following reasons were glaringly apparent:

  • The level of actual theoretical and therefore sound lighting practice in South Africa is not good mainly because illumination engineering is not offered at any of the tertiary institutions to any degree other than an introduction to lighting.
  • Enthusiastic response to CPD events because of the need to accumulate CPD credits to maintain registration with professional institutions.
  • Reluctance to make use of other tutoring providing essential knowledge about new practices.
  • Reluctance to enroll for courses to gain the knowledge about the new technologies.
  • Lack of knowledge about the different new technologies, all of which are part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
  • Lack of awareness of the economic benefits of many of the 4IR technologies, most of which make outstanding investment opportunities rather than simply capital expenditure.

I have asked myself the question, “Is this question because of arrogance or apathy?”

I prefer to hope that it is apathy. Too frequently, I hear the excuse of time constraints.

I cringe at this thought, because opportunity is being missed. The benefit of the opportunities will never be appreciated until the realisation that they have passed one by. At that stage, the advantages of being a leader in the use of the technology will be lost forever – that business will be another follower.

But enough of that. I live in a world of positivity and avoid unproductive, negative thoughts or activities.

What can be done to rectify the situation? There are so many ways, but here are a few:

  • Subscribe to technical and professional magazines such as Vector.
  • Take advantage of tutoring offered by other professionals.
  • Enroll for courses.
  • Read, read and read.
  • Approach known professionals in lighting and the professionals in specific technologies.

I have written extensively about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, as it effects lighting. I have also written about artificial intelligence and lighting, and what is predicted will happen to people who fail to keep up with technologies, 4IR and more. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where the pinnacle is self-actualisation, is a point which is never really achieved. Just when you think you have achieved it, boom, something new arrives to challenge us.

I know that it will probably reveal something about my years when I am reminded of a modern-era proverb penned by Joseph P Kennedy, father of President John F Kennedy: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. There is no time like the present to act.

No matter what you decide to do, I urge you not to be left behind!

Philip Hammond, BHA Lighting and BHA School of Lighting.


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